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Writer Henk Pröpper's slow heartbeat

Writer and publicist Henk Pröpper had only just moved to his beloved Paris when the city came to a standstill, and so did his heart almost. Once fitted with a pacemaker, he took to the city in the one hour a day Parisians were allowed. A new world opened up to him. Writer Henk Pröpper walked during the... 

Paolo Cognetti: 'The mountains give me a lesson in humility every time.'

With his novel The Eight Mountains, Italian writer Paolo Cognetti (42) broke through internationally in 2017. Without Reaching the Top again takes place at great heights. 'The mountains give me a lesson in humility every time.' Without Reaching the Top is the travelogue of Cognetti's mountain trek in late 2017 through a high plateau in Nepal near the... 

Reading in times of Netflix: why books are a must for our minds, according to bestselling author Joël Dicker (33)

'During performances or book signings, people often come up to me and tell me: "I wasn't a reader, but your book made me experience the pleasure of reading and now I really enjoy reading." I don't say that because I think my books are now so good, but because it shows that once someone experiences... 

Best Listened to Culture Press Podcast: No more hypes, but beautiful books (on publishing, and why small is fine)

When the longlist of the Man Booker International Prize was announced on 12 March this year, two things stood out. First, of course, that our own Tommy Wieringa had won a place on this list of fiction translated into English. Even more striking was that 11 of the 13 titles had been published by small, independent publishers. That development... 

A lurid, ultimate act of love. Joris van Casteren writes a beautiful book about a man and his dead mother

Why does someone keep his mother's dead body in the house? In Moeders lichaam, Joris van Casteren sketches a fascinating and loving portrait of a man, his mother and a Limburg village. 'Did you hear that story about the man with his dead mother?' his former journalism teacher asked a few years ago. No, Joris van Casteren hadn't. Because he... 

'A murder of a whore that involved all the high-ups.' Tomas Ross on the never-explained murder of Blonde Dolly from The Hague

How did the Hague prostitute Blonde Dolly make her millions? And why was her killer never caught, when it was abundantly clear who must have strangled her? That smells like a conspiracy, and conspiracies are like grist to writer Tomas Ross' mill. In Blonde Dolly, he tackles one of the oldest and most mysterious cold cases in the Netherlands. Until it... 

Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll? Italian youngsters have something else on their minds - see Paolo Giordano's new novel.

Bestselling author Paolo Giordano (35) does not shy away from current themes in his new novel Devouring Heaven. Poverty, environmental problems, capitalism, (un)fertility - people in their twenties and thirties have a lot to wrap their heads around. 'I find the fixed life pattern we grow up with strangling.' Devouring the sky Young people who have to find their way in the world and learn to cope with pain, loss... 

'Most people prefer to live alone.' Philippe Claudel on his poignant novel 'The Archipelago of the Dog'

Three black men wash up on a small island. This threatens to throw a spanner in the works of the residents and their economic plans. So everyone prefers to pretend that nothing has happened. Archipelago of the Dog, Philippe Claudel's new novel, is a haunting book with lightness peeking through at times. The French bestselling author worries: 'Once, nuclear weapons constituted... 

Why Italian women struggle with motherhood. Writer Silvia Avallone cuts taboos in new novel

She is young, beautiful and well-spoken. Writer Silvia Avallone, known for her bestseller Staal, does not shy away from sensitive themes in her compelling new novel Levenslichtde either, such as the economic crisis, infertility and unevenly divided parenthood. 'Claiming freedom for yourself is something terrifying for an Italian woman.' Rough edges Poverty, economic malaise, gender inequality...... 

The Conscience of Ferrara. How writer Giorgio Bassani held up a mirror to his compatriots against their will

A flat and desolate landscape stretches on either side of the old road to Ferrara. Agricultural areas, created on the fertile soils of the Po delta, leave an impression of decay. Gradually, they flow into suburbs with a predominantly industrial character. Little indicates the approach of the Italian city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Castello Estense... 

Whether thriller writer Tomas Ross (73) has now mastered writing after dozens of books? 'Sometimes I shudder at my own sentences'

Tomas Ross, also called the godfather of Dutch 'faction', concludes his trilogy on the Dutch East Indies with his new thriller Het verdriet van Wilhelmina. ,,Readers often say: with you, we never know what is true and what is false. You might find that an objection, but I think it's a compliment.'' Arnie Springer The new thriller by Tomas... 

Dear Minister @ivanengelshoven, my dream is that the Dutch government would have a real cultural vision.

'What do you desire from Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Minister of Culture?" asked Culture Press in a newsletter to subscribers. Good question! Especially after that first nod she made by generously pledging an extra 10 million to the Performing Arts Fund for the well-performing but not yet receiving anything, 'because the money had run out'. Very nice that band-aid, but... 

Mira Feticu interviews Mircea Cărtărescu: 'My readers deserve a medal'

Earlier this year, Mircea Cărtărescu, Romania's greatest writer, was a guest at the Winternachten festival. Writer Mira Feticu, who was born and grew up in Romania and even received lectures from Cărtărescu as a student, interviewed her former compatriot and professor for A Quattro Mani. A beautiful conversation about their homeland, truth, literature and poetry. 'My books are... 

From Huntington to Babylon: the 7 books you definitely want to read in April

Babylon Yasmina Reza With her novel Babylon, Yasmina Reza won the prix Renaudot, France's most important literary prize after the prix Goncourt. The main character is 62-year-old Elisabeth Jauze. Elisabeth is a patent examiner at the Institute Pasteur and leads a sedate life with her husband Pierre. In contrast to her sister Jeanne, who has been caught up in sexual adventures since separation that... 

Marcel Möring: 'Only in my study do I feel at home'

Writer Marcel Möring got off to a flying start in literature, with his award-winning novels Mendel's Legacy (1990), Het grote verlangen (1992) and In Babylon (1997). But when Dis, the first part of a trilogy, was published in 2006, literary critics made mincemeat of him. The second part Louteringsberg was also mostly poorly received. Today, Dis appears... 

Hugh Aldersey-Williams: 'Ignorance about the tide puts us at risk'

Sea monsters, devouring whirlpools and seductive sirens - the primal power of the sea has been a source of awe, fear, fascination and myth for humans for centuries. In millions of years, the tide will no longer exist, but until then, we still have plenty to do with its beauty and dangers. In The Tide, published last month, the British ... 

Stefan Hertmans: 'I raised this convert from the dead'

The last lavender fields have been harvested, and Haute-Provence is preparing for autumn. The white mists come earlier and start to rise later. As the village of Monieux basks in the sun, which still shines warm and bright, the tree-lined river Nesque meanders through the valley stretching out at our feet. Healing silence.... 

The Busy Drone: Disruptive barrel organ music

Once built for a Belgian dance bar, The Busy Drone came to the Netherlands in the 1960s. Publisher De Bezige Bij placed the barrel organ at its stand at the annual book fair in the RAI in 1968, which explains its striking name. Five years later, director Edy de Wilde purchased the instrument for his Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, where it remained until... 

The Harvest of the Month: Carrasco, Cline, Hemmerechts, Hertmans, Hofstede and Japke-d.

Back to the 11th century His previous novel Oorlog en terpentijn (War and turpentine) brought Belgian writer Stefan Hertmans world success. The book became a bestseller and was showered with praise and awards. It gave Hertmans a whole new readership. His new novel De bekeerlinge was therefore eagerly awaited. Hertmans came up with the subject for his new novel... 

Catherine Millet: 'As soon as something is on paper, I am relieved of it'

Her book The Sexual Life of Catherine M. took the world by surprise and made her world-famous overnight. Since then, Catherine Millet has been one of France's most widely read writers. In her most recent novel A Dream Life, she returns to her childhood in Bois-Colombes. A Quattro Mani went with her to the seeds of her authorship. Back to... 

The Harvest of the Month: Claudel, Baker, Russo, Van der Kwast

The summer period is a fine time for catch-up reading - books from recent times that you still wanted to read but didn't get around to before - but we also got a glimpse of a few upcoming titles. That made for a fine, varied crop this month. Eifel adventures Since The Detour, there hasn't been a new novel... 

Shortlist Man Booker International Prize-new style announced

José Eduardo Agualusa, Elena Ferrante, Han Kang, Orhan Pamuk, Robert Seethaler and Yan Lianke have a chance to win the Man Booker International Prize 2016. The shortlist of six authors and titles was announced today. And, coincidence or not, we already interviewed one of the major contenders. Read that interview with José Eduardo Agualusa here, take in what he says about... 

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